So this is a part of the training process that still has some contentious issues. Most notably, whether stretching will help you recover after exercise. What is absolutely nailed on in terms of science though is the 15-20 minute window we have to consume the right combination of protein and carbs to help us establish better protein synthesis and ultimately better muscle growth and fat loss.
So let’s try and put everything together so we can come up with a definitive list of what exactly works. What will help you recover faster, ache less and stimulate as much muscle growth and fat loss as possible.
1. Don’t Stretch post workout
This is basically a waste of time. It will probably make you sorer and won’t really make any difference to your muscle building or fat loss results. Check out the link to one of my previous articles where I talk a little bit more about stretching and what works best (click here). So basically you can skip this and spend less time in the gym, meaning more time to recover, relax and grow.
2. Get a good combo of protein and carbs into your system as soon as humanly possible.
Now the research into how much varies but as a rule, anything between 2-40g of protein and 40-60g of carbs will do just fine. You can do this through food but after a really tough session most people don’t really feel like consuming a meal. This is where a good recovery shake can come into play.
There are a number of these on the market but I tend to go with this one from The Protein Works which has really given me and my clients good results.
If you would like to purchase Recovery Protein from The Protein Works or find out more, click the link below
The Protein Works Recovery Protein
3. Move more: Get in some active recovery
This is a big one, recovering from a high intensity workout means there will be a lot of lactic acids and waste products floating around your system that you need to get out. One of the jobs of the muscular system, especially in the legs is to aid blood flow and removal of waste products via the lymphatic system. Activities like underwater running, and low grade dynamic mobility drills have been proven to aid this and help speed up active recovery between bouts of high intensity training.
Sounds obvious but we need to be getting around 7-9 hours of sleep every 24 hours. When we sleep we are in the best possible state to promote both physical and mental repair. This amount will not only help our bodies recover between training sessions but also keep our metabolism at optimum levels for fat loss. Another benefit of this amount of sleep is that it helps out brains repair mentally too. Helping our stress levels to stay low, keeping our cortisol levels down and our testosterone levels up.
5. Train Smarter
Keep your training programs short sharp and intense and don’t over-train. 40-50 mins of high intensity training about 3-4 times per week is optimal to develop good improvements in fitness and body composition. Most of us are just normal guys who want to stay in shape and we can get pretty awesome results without feeling like we live at the gym. Don’t get me wrong, if your goal is to compete in body building or any other sport at a high level then you are going to have to train more than this but to get lean and strong, this amount of sessions and time will be enough. In fact, one of the ways I helped my client Greg get in awesome shape was by doing just this. Limiting his training to no more than 4 sessions per week and cutting down the amount of time he was spending in the gym (click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to check out his results).
So I hope this has helped clear a few things up for you and helped you get some clarity into not only what works well for recovery but also how to structure your gym visits to avoid overtraining and allowing your body enough time to recover sufficiently to promote fat loss and growth.
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I will look forward to hearing from you soon.
Darren has over 10 years experience in the fitness industry as a personal trainer, sports injury therapist and most recently as an educator to other trainers. Originally from South Wales, he went to Liverpool University to study Sports Science and liked the city so much, he decided to stay. Since finishing his degree he set up a thriving personal training and injury rehab business which continues to this day. He has recently moved over to Denby Dale in West Yorkshire and has opened Faster Fitness Solutions, a multi-purpose training and rehabilitation facility located in the heart of the village.